"Stranger in My Heart" tells a World War II survivor story
We all establish an image of our parents.
For British osteopath Mary Monro, her late father John Monro was "a Shropshire farmer, horseman, watcher of the TV news."
"Like many people in my generation, he was a typical father. He was quite distant; he wasn't very much involved in childcare. He gave us our education and he gave us his moral code. But he didn't share much about himself." She recalled.
This is the travel permit that British soilder John Monro received when he arrived Chongqing, the then wartime capital of China back in 1942. [Photo: Courtesy of Mary Monro]
It was until 2007, at the birthday party of her mother, she found out her father was not the man she once thought he was: "An old friend of the family was talking to me and she said: 'Your father was a 20th century great.' And I was really shocked. I didn't know what she meant."
It was until 2007, when Mary Monro finally learnt about the details of her father's wartime experiences from his diaries and letters that were tucked away for decades.[Photo: Courtesy of Mary Monro]
Some diaries and letters stashed in a drawer led her to discover the answer. It turned out that her father Major John Monro was once a prisoner of war in Japanese-occupied Hong Kong during World War Two and managed to escape to the then Chinese wartime capital Chongqing with two fellow British officers.
In a report, John Monro decumented the condition at the Sham Shui Po Prisoner of War Camp.[Photo: Courtesy of Mary Monro]
The map showcases Major John Monro's escape route in southern China in 1942. [Picture: Courtesy of Mary Monro]
As he wrote, around that time, they were terrified of being recaptured, because they knew they would be beheaded or put straight back into the prisoner of war camp. Yet the man had kept all those experiences in secrecy throughout his life.
"Stranger in My Heart" is Mary Monro's debut book. [Cover: Courtesy of Mary Monro]
Almost thirty years after her father's death, Mary Monro published a book that uncovers her father's heroics, titled "Stranger in My Heart."
During a phone interview, she shares with our reporter Shiyu her father's unusual story and how she learns much about who she is by retracing her father's escape route.
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